Power Play: Oklahoma-based gas can maker seeks federal regulation

Blitz USA, based in Miami, OK, manufactures 75 percent of all gasoline containers sold in the United States. The company has said its operations are in jeopardy without federal safety regulations that would protect it from lawsuits.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: May 25, 2012
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Without regulation, Blitz may not be able to emerge from bankruptcy, Emerson said.

“If we emerged from bankruptcy today, we would emerge in the exact same litigation environment that put us in bankruptcy in the first place,” she said.

Even if the company does return to full operations, it might have difficulty selling its product without government rules, Emerson said.

Blitz's product liability insurance expires July 31, and its insurance company has not yet agreed to renew.

“Our customers, including Walmart, Lowe's and Home Depot, require us to have product liability insurance before they buy from us,” Emerson said.

“Customers may not choose to purchase from us without it.”

The Portable Fuel Containers Manufacturers Association last week began warning consumers in hurricane-prone states that the gas containers that are part of most storm preparation and recovery kits “could soon be in critically short supply.”

The manufacturers association has created a petition and social media campaign to raise awareness and encourage Congress to act. The information can be found at www.GasCans4Safety.com.

“All members of the Oklahoma Congressional delegation have expressed their sympathy, and several have expressed plans to help,” Emerson said.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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